After many years of working as a housemaid, Flora decided to get a loan from her employer so that she could buy a small piece of land as she and her husband did not own any. Her husband had just resigned from Kabwe Mine due to low salaries.
Because of her hard work and determination towards work, Flora’s employer gave her the money she requested.
Flora Moonga, 56, lives with her husband Benson Moonga, 62, and children in Kang’omba village which is located about 15km from Kabwe town in the central part of Zambia. She has six children aged 18-24.
For many years, Flora lived in Kabwe town with her family but decided to settle in the village because she could not cope up with high cost of living in town.
“We led a very poor life in town as the money I was working for was used to pay house rentals and bills. We could hardly afford a meal in a day. I bought ten hectares of land and constructed a two roomed thatched house. I could not even afford to pay school fees for my children,” she narrated.
Having shifted to the village, Flora joined a community group where she was privileged to receive trainings from Heifer and later in 2009 received two draft heifers under Integrated Livelihoods and Agricultural Support Project (ILASP) funded by Heifer International, Irish Aid and Bothar.
“When I received the heifers, I could not believe as I thought I was dreaming. For once in a very long time, my joy was restored. The animals motivated me to engage in serious farming,” she said.
Previously, before she received two heifers, she only used a small piece of land for maize production but ever since she received the animals, she has significantly expanded the area cropped.
“I use the manure I collect from the animal shed as fertilizer. The first time I used my heifers for cultivation, I harvested 69 bags of maize. Last year, I harvested 400 bags of maize, 100 bags of cowpeas, soya beans and sweet potatoes. With hand hoe farming, I could only harvest 10 bags of maize,” she said.
Flora has built a three bedroomed permanent house, bought a brand new milling machine worth $4.700 and a solar panel as an alternative source of energy. In addition, she has bought five more hectares of land.
“I have been able to pay for my children’s school fees and my first born is working as a teacher at a government school in town, the rest are still in school. We are able to drink milk our animals produce daily and our nutrition has greatly improved. My sources of income are $4 per meter of land ploughed when I rent out my animals and $3 for every five kilograms of grain ground. From the grain grind, I keep the bran to feed my animals. This reduces on my feed costs.
Flora was able to earn a sum of $4,000 last season from cowpeas, sweet potatoes and maize sales. She has been using conservation farming which has helped her have health crops despite the dry spell experienced in the area.
As a Community Animal Health Worker, Flora has been assisting the Livestock Officers in her community with animal health care support such as deworming, vaccinations, spraying and giving advice on animal welfare.
In addition, she has been helping the aged and the needy in her community by giving them food. She also helps them cultivate in their fields using her animals for free. She has employed Actor Mainza to work in the milling and he in turns receives a monthly wage of $100. Besides that, her grind mill has been offering a service to the community as she is the only one who owns one.
“People in this community bring their maize to be ground into mealie meal. Because of this, they have stopped walking for many kilometres going to Kabwe town to have maize milling service. I also help youths in my community by giving them seasonal works in my field and at the end of the day, they receive either money or maize,” she said.
“I’m deeply indebted to Heifer, Irish Aid and Bothar for changing my life from a housewife to a self-reliant person. My favourite cornerstone is Accountability and Record keeping. I have passed on two heifers and I now have five animals,” Flora said.
Flora calls her home “A Home of Accountability” because she keeps records of everything she owns.